The hammer has fallen on Melbourne’s last on-site auctions for the foreseeable future, as buyers and sellers raced to beat the coronavirus lockdown.
More than 100 auctions were fast-tracked before the federal government’s temporary ban on auctions and open for inspections came into effect last night.
Buxton Dingley Village director Steven Turner sold an Aspendale Gardens house under the hammer for $898,000 just hours before the new rules came into play.
“Ultimately in unprecedented times like these, vendors want unconditional offers and (one of) the only way(s) to ensure that is through an auction,” he said.
“So we made the decision to move the date (from Saturday, March 28).
“We lost one buyer due to the concerns about the current situation, but we still had a level of competition. Some buyers still need to buy due to their specific situations.”
Vendors Mark and Renee Gillespie said they had their uncertainties but trusted in their agent to make the right call in bringing the auction forward.
“A month ago, we never thought this coronavirus would have an effect on us,” Mrs Gillespie said.
“We bought a home a month ago, so we really needed this sale.”
The three-bedroom home at 1 Llewellyn Ave sold just short of $50,000 above reserve and drew a crowd of 25 people, all of which practised social distancing as four bidders vied for the keys.
Ray White director Kevin Chokshi had six properties slated for auction this Saturday, March 28, two of which were rescheduled before the lockdown.
“I spoke to my vendors at 10:30pm on Tuesday, after the announcement, and said we had to make a call: use digital formats or stick with traditional means,” he said.
“Both vendors are young families with young kids; they wanted to bring it forward to limit the number of people walking through their home.”
Ray White sales agent Ben Thomas said the auction at 3 Gravenstein Cres, The Basin was competitive and sold $10,000 over reserve.
“Overall it was a good auction campaign with 55 groups through inspections, a few people dropped off, two of the four registered bidders participated,” Mr Thomas said.
Hocking Stuart Bentleigh auctioneer Sophorn En had been due to auction a four-bedroom house at 143 Jasper Rd, Bentleigh, on Wednesday, March 25.
He said he had eight interested parties lined up, but all of them dropped off after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the on-site and in-room auction ban.
The property is now being sold privately.
More than 2700 properties had been scheduled to go under the hammer over the next three weeks.
REIV president Leah Calnan said sellers now had to opt for other viable sale methods, encouraging them to remain on the market.
“It could be a private sale, a sale by a set date or an online auction,” Ms Calnan said.
“While auctions and open for inspections are being put on hold, we are still able to conduct private inspections for rental and sales campaigns.”
Realestate.com.au now offers vendors the opportunity to add virtual tours to their listings for free.
Auction streaming and online bidding service Gavl reported a 200 per cent increase in traffic over the past fortnight, suggesting digitally savvy Melbourne market participants were already adapting to the new norm.
“Vendors (should note) there is a way to engage and attract buyers while making sure health and safety is a forefront of people’s minds,” Gavl chief executive Joel Smith said.